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SENATOBIA – A plea deal was reached days before a trial scheduled for two brothers charged in the 2020 highway murder of a Charleston man. Jarvis Roberson and Geraldo Roberson were each indicted for first degree murder (deliberate design) and conspiracy to commit murder in the March 28, 2020 death of Barney Edward Frost, Jr.
Assistant District Attorney Marvell Gordon reported Jarvis Roberson pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit murder as part of a negotiated plea reached on August 31 during circuit court in Tate County. Roberson was sentenced to 20 years probation – five years of post release supervision and 15 years of non-reporting post-release supervision. The charge for first degree murder was remanded to the file.
Both charges against Geraldo Roberson were remanded to the file. Charges that are remanded to the file simply means the court, usually with a recommendation from the prosecutor, chooses not to go forward with a case.
The brothers had been scheduled for trial in Water Valley on Sept. 5. Gordon told the Herald the plea agreements were reached after months of negotiations with the defendants.
Earlier in August, the district attorney’s office had offered the a similar deal to the brothers if they would provide the name of an unidentified individual who was also in the car with them the night Barney Frost was fatally shot.
“What is your decision?” Circuit Judge Smith Murphey asked the defendants during an August 10 hearing.
“Go to trial,” Jarvis Roberson answered.
“And you understand that the State is asking you to simply identify who the shooter was, and they’re going to remand the charge?” Murphey continued.
“Yes sir,” Jarvis Roberson responded.
Geraldo Roberson also told the judge during the same hearing that he would proceed to trial instead of providing information about a third person in the car.
Speaking to the Herald after the plea agreement was reached on August 31, Gordon provided information about the events leading up to Frost’s murder on March 28, 2020. Gordon explained that an altercation earlier that night stemming from the outcome of a drag race on CR 387 in Lafayette County fueled tension and somebody fired into the air.
“The crowd starts scattering,” Gordon continued.
An orange Camaro then blocked the road and Frost, a passenger in the Camaro, fired into the crowd multiple times. Horton said .380 casings were discovered at that location in Lafayette County. The assistant district attorney also said Geraldo Roberson was struck in the shoulder by a round during the altercation.
The Camaro then fled to Hwy. 7, turning south and entering Water Valley at a high rate of speed.
Gordon said a black Dodge Charger driven by Jarvis Roberson with his injured brother in the back seat pursued Frost and caught up with the Camaro in the vicinity of the bypass in Water Valley.
“A round was fired from the vehicle occupied by Jarvis, his brother and an unidentified third person,” Gordon continued. “Casings from a .223 rifle were discovered on the bypass where the fatal round struck Frost in the back of the head.”
The driver of the Camaro continued south on Hwy. 7 several miles before pulling over and dialing 911. He then exited the vehicle and hid until authorities arrived. Gordon said a .380 pistol was recovered from Frost’s pocket.
Gordon also said at some point after the shots were fired on Hwy. 7, Jarvis Roberson turned around and drove at a high rate of speed with his flashers on to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford. An Oxford police officer encountered the vehicle and followed it to the hospital. A third person was observed exiting the vehicle as Geraldo was transported inside the hospital for treatment.
“It was undisputed that Frost shot into that crowd after the drag race,” Gordon added.
Gordon said that Geraldo Roberson’s charges were remanded to the file as he was in the back seat of the vehicle injured when Frost was shot.
“We worked to get the best outcome we could in these cases,” he added.
Jarvis Roberson’s sentencing order included a $1,000 fine, $100 to the crime victim compensation fund and $5,000 for restitution paid to Frost’s mother.